World’s largest bottler unveils new sustainable strategy

Coca-Cola European Partners has unveiled its new GB sustainable packaging strategy, setting out how it will work with local and national partners to recover all its packaging so that more is recycled and none ends up as litter.

Sustainable - At present, approximately 70% of the cans and 57% of the plastic bottles used each year are recycled - image courtesy of CCEP.
At present, approximately 70% of the cans and 57% of the plastic bottles used each year are recycled – image courtesy of CCEP.

At present, approximately 70% of the cans and 57% of the plastic bottles used each year are recycled, Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) believes these figures could – and should – be higher.

Through its new GB sustainable packaging strategy, the company sets out the key actions it will take, and the areas where it will look to work with others, to improve the recovery and recycling of drinks packaging, and to reduce littering across the nation.

The new strategy is focused on three key areas:

Packaging innovation:

CCEP has reportedly built a strong track record of lightweighting, ensuring all its cans and bottles are 100% recyclable, and using recycled materials. It now wants to build on this, with plans to double the amount of recycled plastic in every one of its PET bottles over the next three years – from the current average of 25% to 50% by 2020.

To achieve this ambitious target it will continue its long term partnership with Clean Tech, which operates Europe’s largest and most advanced plastic bottle reprocessing facility in Lincolnshire, supporting the circular economy in Great Britain and allowing recycled bottles to return to shop shelves as part of new packs in as little as six weeks.

Promoting recycling

Coca-Cola Great Britain will use the power of its brands to inspire more consumers to recycle. Later this month, the company will launch a multi-million-pound communications campaign designed to inspire more people to recycle. The campaign is expected to reach some 35 million Britons by the end of 2017. The company will also be putting a new recycling message on bottles this year and promoting recycling to six million people at festivals and events.

Championing reform

The company will continue to work in partnership with others – including the governments of Great Britain – to improve the current packaging recycling system. To support the growth of the circular economy in Great Britain, the company will champion well-designed new interventions that have the potential to increase packaging collection and recycling rates, including stronger recycling targets, deposit return schemes and extended producer responsibility.

In addition, as part of its commitment to support DEFRA’s new working group on voluntary and economic incentives to reduce littering, CCEP will seek to advance its own knowledge of how consumers are motivate by an incentive-based scheme by testing an on-the-go bottle collection and reward programme.

This test aims to examine the behavioural impact of reward schemes and help inform any future national approaches to reducing litter and increasing collection and recycling rates. More details on these trials are due to be announced later this year.